U.S. 'friendly fire' pilot found guilty of dereliction of duty in Afghanistan

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Isaac Brock, Jul 6, 2004.

  1. Isaac Brock
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    Isaac Brock Active Member

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    U.S. 'friendly fire' pilot found guilty of dereliction of duty

    Last Updated Tue, 06 Jul 2004 20:53:11
    NEW ORLEANS - The U.S. fighter pilot who accidentally dropped a bomb on Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan two years ago, killing four of them, has been found guilty of dereliction of duty by the U.S air force.

    http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2004/07/06/world/schmidt040706

    I'm very curious on this one. The pilot maintains to the death that he wasn't briefed on the Canadian training mission. Seems to me there was a problem with the chain of command and that he may have been a scape goat for a mistake further up.
     
  2. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    From an embedded link in article you provided:

    "Schmidt faced two counts of dereliction of duty for not making sure he was dropping a bomb on the enemy and for disobeying air controllers' instructions to "standby" while information was verified. The formal counts allege that he "failed to comply with the applicable rules of engagement" and "willfully failed to exercise appropriate flight discipline over his aircraft."

    This is the key to the situation. It is possible that Schmidt was not briefed on the presence or activities of the Canadians. But in this context, it does not matter. He was directed to await further clearance before conducting any hostile action. He failed to obey those orders. No amount of equivocating and finger pointing will get him around that.

    The only weapons the Canadians had were small arms. If Schmidt feared for his safety, all he had to do was pull back on the stick and hit the afterburner. He would have been out of range in less than two seconds. Then he could wait at his leisure for verification.
     
  3. freeandfun1
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    freeandfun1 VIP Member

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    It sounds to me as if the "punishment" is fitting. I agree they might be being made scapegoats, but it also sounds as if they have some culpability (probably didn't get clearance or verify the locations of friendlies first - which is a must unless you are under direct fire).
     
  4. Isaac Brock
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    Isaac Brock Active Member

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    Indeed. It seems like one of those situation where something definitely went wrong, but smaller failures at perhaps many levels resulted in the greater failure. I suppose we'll never perhaps know the truth, beyond what the tribunal has found.

    I remember it was a polarizing moment in our country for a moment, but it did seem to mend fairly quickly. Afghanistan-wise at least.
     
  5. Doomer
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    They showed the video/audio from the pilots cockpit the other day on the news. Over the comm there was a voice ordering him to not engage the "enemy". the pilot defied the order claiming "self defence". The problem with that claim was that there was nothing fired at him or anywhere near him.
     

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